Generic Name: carmustine (kar MUS teen)Brand Names: BiCNU, Gliadel
Carmustine is a cancer medication that interferes with the growth of cancer cells and slows their spread in the body.
Carmustine is used to treat brain tumors, Hodgkin's disease, multiple myeloma, and non-Hodgkin's lymphoma.
Carmustine is sometimes given with other cancer medications.
Carmustine may also be used for other purposes not listed in this medication guide.What is the most important information I should know about Gliadel (carmustine)?Do not use carmustine if you are pregnant. It could harm the unborn baby. Use effective birth control, and tell your doctor if you become pregnant during treatment. You should not use this medication if you are allergic to carmustine.
Before receiving carmustine, tell your doctor if you have bone marrow suppression, liver or kidney disease, or a history of lung or breathing problems.
Carmustine is usually given once every 6 weeks. You may be given either a single injection or multiple injections over a 2-day period. Follow your doctor's dosing instructions very carefully.Carmustine can cause nausea and vomiting that may last up to 6 hours after your injection. To be sure this medication is not causing harmful effects, your blood will need to be tested weekly for at least 6 weeks after you receive a dose of carmustine. Your kidneys, liver, and lung function may also need to be tested. Do not miss any follow-up visits to your doctor.What should I discuss with my healthcare provider before receiving Gliadel (carmustine)?You should not receive this medication if you are allergic to it.
If you have any of these other conditions, you may need a dose adjustment or special tests to safely receive this medication:
bone marrow suppression;
a history of lung or breathing problems.
Carmustine is given as an injection through a needle placed into a vein. You will receive this injection in a clinic or hospital setting. The medicine must be given slowly through an IV infusion and may take at least 2 hours to complete.
Carmustine is usually given once every 6 weeks. You may be given either a single injection or multiple injections over a 2-day period. Follow your doctor's dosing instructions very carefully.Tell your caregivers if you feel any burning or pain around the IV needle when carmustine is injected. Carmustine can cause nausea and vomiting that may last up to 6 hours after your injection. You may be given anti-nausea medications to help prevent these side effects.
Carmustine can lower the blood cells that help your body fight infections. This can make it easier for you to bleed from an injury or get sick from being around others who are ill.To be sure your blood cells do not get too low, your blood will need to be tested weekly for at least 6 weeks after you receive a dose of carmustine. This medication can have long-lasting effects on your body. Your kidneys, liver, and lung function may also need to be tested. Do not miss any follow-up visits to your doctor for blood or urine tests.
Call your doctor for instructions if you miss an appointment for your carmustine injection.
Overdose symptoms may include severe forms of the serious side effects listed in this medication guide.
Avoid being near people who have colds, the flu, or other contagious illnesses. Contact your doctor at once if you develop signs of infection.
redness of your eyes or skin and severe warmth or tingling under your skin (within 2 to 4 hours after your carmustine injection);
signs of infection such as fever, chills, sore throat, mouth sores;
easy bruising, unusual bleeding (nose, mouth, vagina, or rectum), purple or red pinpoint spots under your skin;
pale skin, feeling light-headed, rapid heart rate, trouble concentrating;
wheezing, rapid breathing, feeling short of breath;
chest pain, dry cough, fever, feeling ill;
urinating less than usual or not at all;
confusion, mood changes, increased thirst;
swelling in your ankles or feet; or
jaundice (yellowing of the skin or eyes).
Less serious side effects may include darkened skin color where the IV needle was placed.
This is not a complete list of side effects and others may occur. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.
Tell your doctor about all other medications you use, especially cimetidine (Tagamet).
There may be other drugs that can interact with carmustine. Tell your doctor about all your prescription and over-the-counter medications, vitamins, minerals, herbal products, and drugs prescribed by other doctors. Do not start a new medication without telling your doctor.